Orange Marmalade

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:35 am on Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My orange tree is giving me a lot of oranges this year, so I decided to make orange marmalade. I’m pleased with how it came out.

I used Alton Brown’s recipe, except I reduced the amount of sugar in it. His recipe calls for about 7 cups of sugar, which seemed like way too much. I cut it in half to 3.5 cups and it tastes perfect to me. Here’s the recipe:

Orange Marmalade
Adapted from Alton Brown.


    1 3/4 pounds oranges, 4 to 5 medium
    1 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
    6 cups water
    3.5-4 cups sugar


    10 8-ounce canning jars with rings and lids
    12-quart pot


Wash the oranges and lemon thoroughly. Cut the oranges into 1/8-inch slices. Remove the seeds. Cut the orange slices up into quarters.

Put the oranges in a stainless steel pot. Add the lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil, which will take about 10 minutes. Once boiling, reduce the heat so that the marmalade is at a rapid simmer. Cook for 40 minutes, stirring periodically so it doesn’t burn. The fruit should be very soft.

Sanitize your jars. Here’s how Alton says to do it: “While the fruit is cooking, fill a large pot (at least 12-quart) 3/4 full with water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place 10 (8-ounce) jars and rings, canning funnel, ladle, and tongs into the boiling water and make sure the water covers the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the lids and leave everything in the pot until the marmalade is ready.”

Put a plate in the freezer. When the 40 minutes are up, bring the marmalade back to a boil. Add the sugar. Carefully taste to see if you like how sweet/bitter the marmalade will be. Adjust accordingly.

Stir the mixture continually until the marmalade darkens in color and it reaches 222 degrees F on a candy thermometer. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

To test if the marmalade is ready, take out your frozen plate and put a dab of the marmalade on it. If it’s ready, the mixture should be a soft gel that moves when you tilt the plate. If the mixture is thin and runs, it’s not ready.

Transfer the marmalade into the jars. Put on the lids and rims. Tighten and wipe away any spillage with a damp cloth.

To finish the marmalade, put the jars into boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and let the cans sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before opening.

Voila! Marmalade. You can store it for up to 6 months.

Blackberry Smash

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:02 am on Friday, July 25, 2014

savvyhousekeeping blackberry smash blackberries cocktail bourbon mint lemon

I got together with DIY Cocktails and made a Blackberry Smash. (The name makes me think of the Hulk. “Hulk smash!”) We crushed the blackberries with a little simple syrup, lemon juice, and mint, then mixed it with bourbon. Kind of like a mint julep, only with berries. Plus it’s pretty.


Blackberry Smash

(Makes 1 cocktail)


    3 ounces fresh blackberries
    1 1/2 ounce bourbon
    1 ounce simple syrup
    8 small mint leaves
    1 dash fresh lemon juice


In a cocktail shaker, muddle all the ingredients so that the blackberries and mint are crushed. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice. Pour the drink over the ice. Enjoy!

Blackberry Scones

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:55 am on Thursday, July 24, 2014

savvyhousekeeping recipe scones fruit blackberry

Scones are one of those things that can either be wonderful or awful. They are either dry and gum up your mouth or they are lovely and soft. My mom’s recipe is the latter kind. Her scones are a soft biscuit with lots of fruit and a sugary crust on top. Really, they have ruined me to most coffee-shop scones.

savvyhousekeeping recipe scones fruit blackberry

I made these scones with blackberries that I picked a couple of weeks ago, but you can make them with any fruit, fresh or frozen. The recipe:

Blackberry Scones
(Makes 6-8 scones)


    For the scones:

    1 – 1 1/2 cups blackberries
    2 cup flour
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    4 Tablespoon sugar
    4 Tablespoon butter
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/3 cup milk
    1/4 cup sour cream

    For the crust:

    1 egg white
    1/4 cup sugar


If you’re using fresh berries, wash them and then stick them in the freezer for at least a half hour. This will help the berries maintain their structural integrity when you work them into the dough.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking flour, and the 4 Tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and work it into the dough until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Stir in the milk, eggs, and sour cream and form a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Fold the berries into the dough. Be careful not to overwork or smash the fruit.

Pat the dough into an 8 inch circle. Now it’s time to make the sugary crust. Beat the egg white until it is frothy and then spread over the top of the dough. This will seem soupy and strange, but go with it. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the egg whites so that the top is covered and the sugar is absorbed by the egg whites.

With a floured knife, cut the dough into wedges. The scones will expand a bit in the oven, so keep this in mind when you cut them. Carefully transfer the scones onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes until they are lightly browned. Wait until cooled and then enjoy.

savvyhousekeeping recipe scones fruit blackberry

Zucchini on Zucchini Raviolis

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:53 am on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I made this recipe last night, and it was delicious. They are zucchini-stuffed raviolis topped with a roasted zucchini sauce. The recipe used five zucchinis, which is great since I have dozens of them right now from the garden.

In the following recipe, I used a pasta dough from Lidia’s Family Table, one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. For the sauce, I modified a recipe from Real Simple Magazine.

You will need a pasta machine to make this recipe.

Here’s the whole thing from start to finish:


For the Dough:

    2 eggs + 1 egg for sealing the ravioli
    2 cups flour
    3 Tablespoon water
    1/4 cup olive oil

For the Filling:

    2 medium zucchini
    1/4 cup mozzarella
    1/4 cup Parmesan
    1 clove garlic
    salt/pepper to taste

For the Sauce:

    3 small zucchini, sliced
    2 Tablespoon olive oil
    1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
    1/3 cup Parmesan
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    3 Tablespoon basil, chopped
    salt and pepper


Make the Dough:

In a separate bowl, crack open two eggs and muddle with a fork. Add the olive oil and water to the eggs.

Sift 2 cups of flour into a mixer or bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the flour. Mix together for 1 minute on medium speed, or with a spoon or spatula, until you have a shaggy ball.

Knead the dough. I used a dough hook for my mixer and let it run for 3 minutes on medium until the dough became a shiny ball. Alternately, you can turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand.

Let the dough sit for an hour.

Make the Filling:

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients: zucchini, garlic, cheese, and salt/pepper. Taste to make sure it isn’t too sweet. If so, add more salt.

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini raviolis

Put the mixture in a strainer and push at it so that the extra liquid leaves the zucchini. It’s important to do this to avoid liquid-y ravioli. Leave the mixture sitting in the strainer until it’s time to use it so extra liquid can drain out.

Make the Raviolis:

Run the pasta through the pasta maker. Take your dough and divide it into four parts, then run it through each level of your pasta maker from the largest to the smallest.

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini raviolis

In the end, you have four large pasta noodles like you would use for lasagna. Now it’s time to make the raviolis.

Lay the noodle out on a floured surface. Cut off any jagged ends so that you are dealing with a large rectangle. Fold the noodle in half so that you have a crease down the center. Using a spoon, put about 1 Tbs of filling on the lower half of the noodle. Repeat so you have a row of filling laid out, like so:

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini raviolis

It’s time to close the ravioli. Crack the third egg into a bowl and muddle it. Using a pastry brush, “paint” the egg around the edges and in between the filling. This will hold the ravioli together. Here is a diagram of where I painted the egg:

Fold the noodle over. Working from back crease, gently push all the air out of the noodle around your filling. A lump should start to form.

Then, cut each ravioli off with a pizza cutter or knife:

Using a fork, press around the edge to seal each ravioli:

Repeat until you end up with about 30-40 raviolis. I held 12 zucchinis back for the meal. For the rest, I lay them flat on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer. Once they were frozen flat, I transferred them to plastic bags and stored them in the freezer for a quick gourmet meal any time I want.

Make the Sauce:

On the stove, bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the ravioli. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice up your other three zucchinis and crush the garlic. Drizzle with 2 tsp of cheese, the olive oil, the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper in a large baking pan. Put the whole thing in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it looks like this:

savvyhousekeeping homemade zucchini ravioli

Using a slotted spoon, lower your ravioli into the boiling water. Let it boil for about 3-4 minutes. When they are done, the ravioli will float to the top of the water and change to a lighter color.

Remove from the ravioli from the water and gently toss with the zucchini mixture, the rest of the cheese, the basil, and a slight sprinkling of salt. Enjoy.

The resulting pasta is worth all that work. It is cheesy, light, a little spicy, and very zucchini-y. It is the kind of dish that makes you feel like you are eating at a fancy restaurant. Also, because you have frozen two-thirds of the ravioli, you can make more of this dish anytime you want. Oh, and it’s vegetarian and cheap to boot.

Cost of Dish: Flour: $.32; Eggs: $.75; Olive Oil: $.25; Cheese: $1; Zucchini, Basil, and Garlic: Free from the garden; Red pepper flakes: Free from a local pizza place; Water, Salt, and Pepper: So cheap, practically free.

Total Cost of Dish: $2.32.

It’s hard to tell the per-serving cost because I made more ravioli than I did sauce. However, pretending that the $2.32 is just for the ravioli–which it isn’t, because it includes the sauce (so it’s even cheaper)–it would be about $.39/serving.

What To Do With Carrots: Pickle Them

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 9:42 am on Thursday, July 17, 2014

I seem to be having a bumper carrot year in my garden. No problem, I think I’ll pickle them.

I’ve never pickled carrots before, but it doesn’t look hard. Here’s some recipes I might try:





Caprese Appetizer Idea

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:16 am on Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I picked my first ripe tomatoes from the garden yesterday. That means it’s almost time for Caprese salads, one of my favorite dishes ever: fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and ripe (must be ripe!) tomatoes.

And here’s a way to serve Caprese salads to your guests as an appetizer: hollow out cherry or grape tomatoes, put the cheese inside, and stick on a toothpick, making a “Caprese pop.”

Here’s a post on how to do it.

To serve, you can put them on a plate, or put them in a glass, like so:

Great idea.

Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:45 am on Wednesday, July 9, 2014

This being barbecue season, DIY Cocktails and I thought it would be a good time to try a grilled fruit cocktail. So we experimented and came up with the Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail.

It uses bourbon, honey liqueur, and, of course, grilled plums.

To make the cocktail, we put the plums on the grill while making other food, just as you would if you were making a grilled fruit dessert. It took 7 minutes over medium-high heat to get the plums caramelized and lightly charred. Then we used them in the drink.

And we discovered something pretty interesting: grilling fruit enhances the fruit flavor of a cocktail.

The grilled plums gave the drink a deeper, brighter, more plum-like flavor than if we had used them raw. In fact, when we tried the recipe without grilling the plums, the drink tasted a little tart. But grilling them made the plums blend with the other ingredients so that the cocktail came together beautifully.

(Enough grilled plums for three cocktails)

This is even more impressive when you consider that we purposely used lackluster plums. That means this cocktail is an excellent way to use up those unexciting plums you get from the grocery store. You know those plums that you buy and somehow they never ripen or taste all that great, no matter how long you leave them out? Yep. Here’s a way to make them sing.

Honey Barbecue Plum
(Makes one cocktail)


    1 plum
    1 1/2 ounce bourbon
    3/4 ounce honey liqueur (learn to make your own honey liqueur here.)
    1/2 ounce agave nectar or simple syrup
    1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
    Dash Peychaud’s bitters


Cut the plum in half and remove the pit.

Grill the plum on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to caramelize and you see grill marks. Turn over and let it cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes, until the plum is soft. Remove from the grill.

In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients except the bitters.

Muddle the plum thoroughly. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice.

Put on the lid and shake for at least a solid minute, or until ice starts to form on the outside of the container. This is especially important if the plum is still hot. You don’t want a warm cocktail.

Strain the drink into a glass. Add a drop or two of Peychaud’s bitters. Enjoy!

Black Walnut Manhattan

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:07 am on Thursday, July 3, 2014

Speaking of making your own nocino, here’s a cocktail using nocino that I made with DIY Cocktails.

The Black Walnut Manhattan is a traditional Manhattan that uses nocino in place of vermouth. It’s tasty and elegant. Here’s how to make it.

Black Walnut Manhattan

(makes one drink)


    1.5 oz bourbon
    1 oz nocino
    2 dashes bitters


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the bourbon, nocino, and bitters. Stir–don’t shake–the ingredients and strain into a glass. Garnish with a cherry if you desire. Enjoy!

5 Ways To Eat Watermelon

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:10 am on Monday, June 30, 2014

To me, nothing says summer more than watermelon. And with Independence Day just around the corner, here are 5 Ways To Eat Watermelon:

Cut Shapes out of the watermelon with cookie cutters or a knife and put them on a stick.

Mix it into a Watermelon Mojito.

Cut it up with feta cheese and kiwi and make a salad that looks like a Rubik’s Cube.

Make Watermelon Ice (a good way to use up an older melon).

Or, turn the watermelon into a keg.

10 Summer Squash Recipes

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:02 am on Monday, June 23, 2014

My squash plants are already producing plenty of young pattypan squash and zucchini. Time to use them up! Here are some summer squash recipes I’m considering.


Cheese, zucchini, and corn in a tortilla. How can this be bad? I might try adding some pesto too.


Homemade pizza with grilled veggies and fresh mozzarella. I can’t believe we haven’t done this yet.


A new way to use squash in breakfast.


Pattypan squash just seems designed for stuffing. Here’s Alton Brown’s version.


A healthier twist on lasagna. I have to admit, I would probably add more cheese.


Another good one from Martha Stewart. This recipe uses zucchini, but any summer squash would work.


These muffins are a hit every time I make them.


I discovered these quick zucchini pickles last year. Highly recommended.


I love the idea of this, but I would probably use broth and milk instead of water in the soup base.


I’m so curious about this recipe. It looks like it could be really tasty.

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